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British woman survives macaque attack during Phuket holiday

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: A British woman with a life-long fear of monkeys was seriously injured by several primates while visiting Monkey Beach on Phi Phi Don Island on May 21.

Dee Darwell, 56, arrived in Phuket on May 18 and had a couple of “lovely” days before setting off on a one-day trip to Phi Phi Don and surrounding islands with Siam Seacanoe tour company.

One stop on the tour was Monkey Beach, named for its large population of crab-eating macaques.

Ms Darwell’s father kept an ‘evil’ chimpanzee that fostered her ‘intense dislike for
monkeys’, she explained.

Despite this, she agreed to take the boat trip with her friend.

Arriving at Monkey Island at around noon, Ms Darwell considered staying on the boat while the other 35 tourists enjoyed up-close encounters with the monkeys.

But rather than endure the sun, she opted to lay down her towel on a rock near the shoreline.

“I thought I was heading for safety under this rock in the shade, only to cool down. I laid the towel down and there were no monkeys in sight,” said Ms Darwell.

“The next thing I noticed, this monkey walked up next to me and I thought, ‘Oh dear,’ and I began to stand up to move away.

“Then, the monkey took my wrist and pounced on my right arm, sinking his teeth in and hung off it. He wouldn’t let go; he was locked on. I was absolutely petrified. I was shaking from head to foot and I froze,” she said.

“There was one man, a tourist, and when he saw the monkey bite me, he screamed and ran off…Then another, bigger monkey bit my arm, just next to the other one biting me, and all of a sudden I was surrounded by monkeys.”

Three or four of the creatures began attacking her from all sides, grabbing her arms, legs and rear end, leaving bruises all over her body.

“I thought, ‘this is it, I’m going to die, I’m going to be savaged by these monkeys,’ then I went into shock.”

Ms Darwell does not remember how she was rescued, but was later told that the boat crew had gotten the monkeys away from her.

The next thing she remembers was the blood “pumping out of a deep, deep hole” near her right wrist. “It was like it was all going in slow motion and I was watching a movie,” she said.

The boat crew were well prepared and very efficient in treating her wound, cleaning it and covering it with a bandage.

However, the treatment ended there, according to Ms Darwell; she was not immediately taken back to Phuket for further medical attention.

“I didn’t want to make a fuss in front of everyone on the tour, but for sure they should have ferried me straight back to the hospital,” she said.

Instead of taking her back to Phuket, the tour continued as scheduled with a stop for lunch, where she had to pay for a beach chair and couldn’t eat because of the pain and her “dazed” state. She said she was only given paracetamol for the “intense” pain.

“I thought, ‘I’ve paid to come on this trip, I’ve been bitten by a monkey, been brought here for a lunch I couldn’t eat and I’ve just come here to rest and now I have to pay extra for a place to rest,'” she recalled.

Yongyut Buasod, the Siam Seacanoe guide responsible for Ms Darwell’s tour, said that they did warn her of the dangers of bacterial infection and offered to take her to a hospital, but a friend with her said that she could take her herself.

Ms Darwell said that after arriving back in Phuket around 5pm or 6pm, she went to Patong Hospital.

Sensing a worsening infection, she went to Bangkok Hospital Phuket on May 28, where she underwent a surgical procedure to remove rotten flesh.

Ms Darwell said that her main complaint was with the lack of warning given on the potential dangers on the trip.

“I wouldn’t have got off that bloody boat if the tour guide would have said at all that there was any danger, any risk, even the slightest risk. I would not have gotten off that boat,” she said.

Mr Yongyut said, “We bring tourists to this beach every day, and we always warn them about the monkeys. But, in a group of about 40 tourists, you’re always going to have someone who doesn’t listen.

“We can’t control the monkeys if they decide to bite someone; that’s why we always warn the tourists. That day some people were teasing the monkeys. They don’t necessarily attack the specific person teasing them.

“Every tour company bringing tourists here warns their customers. We, also, don’t want to have problems like this. The tourists don’t have to get off the boat if they don’t want to,” he said.

She ended by saying, “Come to Thailand because it’s the most beautiful place and the people are lovely – just keep away from the monkeys.”

— N. Altstadt & Atchaa Khamlo

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Phuket

We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket red zone list adds Krabi, Trang, Ranong, Phatthalung

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Phuket checkpoint now lists 25 provinces as a red zone.

Visitors to Phuket from Krabi, Trang, Ranong, and Phatthalung will now have to prove they’re vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, as they’ve been added to the red zone province list. People entering without those qualifications will have to take a rapid antigen test on the spot before being allowed into Phuket.

The 4 provinces join a group of 21 other provinces already on the Phuket red zone list requiring strict measures to enter. That list even includes Phuket itself, as people do exit the province have to prove a negative test or vaccination before being allowed to re-enter.

Phuket’s vice governor made the announcement yesterday after the governor signed the order and put it into effect until at least May 15th. That same order requires all trucks transporting goods to travel from 11 pm to 5 am, the nighttime hours that other people are not allowed to enter the island. Phuket recently closed its entry checkpoints from late night to early morning after reports of exhaustion from the health officials working to test everyone or verify their credentials.

Delivery drivers will also have to pass the same requirements as red zone province arrivals before entering Phuket. Any driver who does not have a negative test within 72 hours or proof that they’ve received both doses of a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration, will be forced to wait until the regular checkpoint opens at 5 am to receive a rapid antigen test.

Over 40,000 people from red zones have now been tested at the checkpoint to enter Phuket. In the first week of the requirement which began on April 22, health officials tested more than 22,000 people, overwhelming staff and prompting the government to close the entrance from 11 pm to 5 am to give checkpoint workers a break.

The 25 provinces currently classified as a red zone for entering Phuket are as follows:

Bangkok Nakhon Pathom Pathum Thani Rayong Suphan Buri
Chiang Mai Nakhon Ratchasima Phatthalung Sa Kaeo Surat Thani
Chonburi Nakhon Sri Thammarat Phuket Samut Prakan Tak
Khon Kaen Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Samut Sakhon Trang
Krabi Nonthaburi Ranong Songkhla Udon Thani

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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